Scabies is a skin infection caused by tiny mites Sarcoptes scabiei. The infestation is usually caused by female mites that tunnel into and lay eggs beneath the skin surface. The eggs may take about 10 days to hatch into larvae and may take about 3 to 4 weeks to mature into adult mites.
Scabies is not always transmitted through sexual contact but mainly through direct skin-to-skin contact with infected individual. The mites may be passed onto clothing or bed sheets and can survive for 1 to 2 days away from human body and it is possible for someone to get infected by sharing clothing or bed sheets that consists of mites. Scabies on humans can only be transfer to humans and it cannot be transfer from animals to humans.
The symptoms may appear within 4 to 6 weeks after infection and some people may not experience any symptoms. The most common symptoms may include small pimples like bumps or red rashes on skin area infested with mites and some people may experience severe itching on infested site that usually occurs at night when the itching get worse.
Severe itching and scratching on infested sites can cause bleeding and open sores that are more susceptible to bacterial infections. People with mite infection are infested with about 10 to 15 adult female mites regardless of the number of bumps or pimples on the infested skin.
In adults the most common infested sites may include the hands, wrists, between the fingers, elbows, back, knees, abdomen, waist, genitals, buttocks, around the nipples, under the women’s breasts, between the toes, around the feet and back of the feet. In infants the most common infested sites may include the scalp, face, neck, shoulders, palms, and soles of the feet.
Crusted scabies are more likely to affect the elderly and people with weaker immune system. The symptoms involve thick crusts that form on the skin infested with high number of mites. The itching is not as severe and treating this type of infestation may take longer period of time.
The infection can be treated with 5% permethrin lotions or creams applied all over the body from the neck down to the toes at bedtime and left on for 8 to 14 hours before washing off with soap and water. Usually a single application is enough to treat the infection and sometime second dose is required if the infection is more severe. Second dose is applied within 1 week after the first dose.
Crusted scabie can be treated with a single dose of Ivermectin taken orally or it can be treated with topical application of Ivermectin that may be as effective as the oral medication.
The itching may not go away right after treatment and may continue for several weeks. The itching may be relieved by taking antihistamines or washing with mild soaps.
along with your household members and all your sexual partners should be
treated at the same time to avoid re-infection and to prevent others
from being infected. The clothing, towels, or bed sheets should be
washed with hot water and dry completely with hot dryer cycle to kill
off all the mites.
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